children’s books Archive

Netflix’s ANNE Bridges the Divide Between Us and Our Childhood Dreams

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The ways in which Anne, the mercurial, earnest girl at the center of the story lived, learned, grew, and blundered her way through life resonated with me, a perennial outsider and dreamer, wounded by things that, like Anne’s cruel treatment at the hands of the Hammonds and the orphanage

Let’s Get Small: On Loving Miniature Books

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“The miniature is mysterious. We wonder how all those parts work when they’re so small. We wonder ‘are they real?'” -Lia Purpura I just made a shamelessly sentimental purchase on eBay: a replacement for a tiny dictionary I once found in the toe of my Christmas stocking as a

Dear Lois Lowry

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I recently realized that the list of all the things I’ve written (a list that, weirdly for a fiction writer, somehow includes song lyrics, listicles, and sestinas), does not include a fan letter. I’ll Facebook message friends with “Hey, loved the new story!”—but I’ve never emailed a stranger, out

The Shelf-Space Dilemma: Which Books Stay? Which Go?

Author: | Categories: Reading 4 Comments
We lit-loving folk tend to accumulate an overwhelming number of books. Even if you’re a diehard eBook reader, audiobook listener, or library borrower, chances are you’ll still find yourself receiving the odd hard copy as a gift, or springing for an exciting new release or two at a local

Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice 2 Comments
 “Oh, I get it. ‘Pete’ is the name of the boy who falls off the log. ‘Repeat’ is the name of the other boy, but when you say his name, you’re also asking me to say the joke again.” My daughter says this a week after she’s been told

Storyish Poems, Poemish Stories, and Why Poets Should Love Reading Children’s Books

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My fellow Ploughshares blogger Caitlin O’Neil recently wrote an awesome post about all the important writing lessons she learned from reading children’s books. I was like, “OMG so true! I too have learned so many important writing lessons from reading children’s books!” And then I told all my friends about

“Dear Lucky One”: The Westing Game Invites Us to Play

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice 4 Comments
Thirty-five years after the publication of Ellen Raskin’s novel The Westing Game, readers still rave about it. As one literary agent tweeted recently, “if I could find the new Ellen Raskin, I would be the happiest agent ever.” Bestselling novelist Gillian Flynn ventures that in Gone Girl, she maybe,

Raising ’em right: Fiction & Parenthood

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Within the next few weeks, I’ll be officially responsible for introducing another human being to a sense of ethics—of how to be in this world. Granted, she and I will be initially concerned with a few other things, but the time will come when we will talk about right

Reading Aloud: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore

Author: | Categories: Writing 4 Comments
As I wrote in my last post, I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books lately, out loud to my daughter. (She doesn’t seem to hear them when I read silently.) It’s made me more conscious of how words and sentences flow together and has helped me streamline my

What You Can Learn About Writing from Children’s Books

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I’ve spent the last year and a half brushing up on reading that for the last three decades or so I’ve been neglecting. Since my daughter was born, I’ve been diving deep into the literary canon, paging through tens or hundreds (well, some days it feels like hundreds) of